Bono to present Suu Kyi with Amnesty award on Irish visit

Bono will join fellow aid campaigner Bob Geldof in a special tribute event to honour Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Dublin this month.

Bono will join fellow aid campaigner Bob Geldof in a special tribute event to honour Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Dublin this month.

The U2 frontman will present the Nobel Peace Prize laureate with Amnesty International’s prestigious Ambassador of Conscience award at a public concert in Dublin next month.

“It’s so rare to see grace trump military might and when it happens we should make the most joyful noise we can,” Bono said.

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s grace and courage has tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy.

“We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person. How honoured we are that she should consider Ireland for her first real trip from home.”

Ms Suu Kyi has agreed to attend the Electric Burma event the day after delivering her acceptance speech in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.

The lifelong democracy campaigner is expected to address a crowd of supporters outside the Dublin venue on the night.

Ms Suu Kyi has been unable to collect either honour having been under house arrest or in prison for 15 of the last 24 years. This will be her first trip to Europe since 1988.

Geldof said it was an honour to be asked to be involved in the concert.

“To be allowed to honour this woman is an honour in itself. The heroine of dignity, integrity, courage and steely moral vigour lost her freedom and her family in order to gain a nation. Ireland is ennobled by her visit,” he said.

Bill Shipsey, organiser of the event and founder of Art for Amnesty, the group’s artist engagement programme, said everyone else at the concert is the support act.

“Why Ireland for a concert for Aung San Suu Kyi? Samuel Beckett was once asked why we produced so many musicians and writers and dancers. He said that ’when you live on the last ditch (of Europe) all you can do is sing’,” he said.

“Electric Burma will give a charge to the people of Burma. But the electricity for this concert will be provided by the star who will be seated in the stalls for most of the show.

“Everybody else who performs, no matter how celebrated or gifted, is a support act. Walk on Aung San Suu Kyi to the Dublin stage. A free woman of Dublin since 2001 and now a free woman of the world.”

Other leading figures from the world of arts and music to attend the concert include actress Vanessa Redgrave, musician Damien Rice, the Riverdance ensemble and Game of Thrones actor Jack Gleeson.

Bono is a long-standing supporter of Ms Suu Kyi. In 2009, U2 dedicated an entire musical set at a concert in Croke Park to the 66-year-old.

The concert will take place at 4.45pm on Monday June 18 in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Dock. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 9am priced €25.

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